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New Quilts From an Old Favorite bring an American tradition to Shafer Gallery
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Barnes

 

 

On Saturday afternoons when I was a boy growing up in the little North Texas town of Electra, I would often steal into the basement of my Dad’s church and sit for hours under the quilting frame set up by the Women’s Missionary Council. The ladies of the church would sing hymns, gossip and generally catch up on the goings-on in their world. All the while, thimbles clicked and nimble fingers darted in and out of the batting suspended on the quilting frame. I was always amazed at how they could piece together all those disparate pieces of fabric into a unified whole. There is something quintessentially American about quilt making. Practical and beautiful, multifaceted and multicultural, even the process of quilt making reflects our quilted society. Most of those quilts were made from time-honored, traditional quilt designs.

At Barton Community College’s Shafer Gallery, you will see the work of contemporary quilt makers who were challenged by the National Quilt Museum in Paducah, Ky., to create original quilts based on the classic Sunflower block pattern. "New Quilts From an Old Favorite 2010: Sunflower," is an exhibit of the 18 finalists’ winning quilts. These are not your grandmother’s quilts! They push quilt making into the realm of art making. If you have never seen an exhibition of art quilts before, you are in for a visual treat.

Quilters from 11 U.S. states and Canada modified the Sunflower design in imaginative ways, providing a wonderful look at the skills, techniques and creativity of today’s quiltmakers. Support for the contest was provided by Fairfield Processing Corporation, Janome America, Incorporated, and Clover Needlecraft Inc. Local support for this exhibit is provided by Barton Community College, the Kansas Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts.

The Shafer Gallery will host a reception from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 24, to celebrate the homespun art of quilting, the "Sunflower" exhibit and American ingenuity. In addition to the quilts on display, members of Threadbenders Quilt Guild will have a quilting bee, musicians Wayne Long and Arthetta Long, acoustic fingerstyle guitarist and autoharpist from Wichita, will play traditional music, and members of the community will bring potluck desserts. We hope to see you there!

The Shafer Gallery is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Sundays. The Gallery is closed during College-observed holidays. Admission is free. For more information, contact me, Dave Barnes, at the Shafer Gallery, 620-792-9342.